State environmental approval granted for WA’s Asian Renewable Energy Hub

Mortlake, wind, pilbara, Asian Renewable Energy Hub

A globally significant renewable energy project in WA’s Pilbara has taken a major step forward, with state environmental approval granted for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub.

The 15GW first stage of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, a large-scale wind and solar hybrid renewable energy project near Port Hedland, could create thousands of jobs in the Pilbara and would be one of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen projects.

The approval marks a major step forward for the project, which plans to eventually expand to 26GW of renewable wind and solar generation, providing energy to service industries in the Pilbara and provide markets in Asia with green hydrogen and ammonia.

The project will create significant new manufacturing opportunities in Western Australia.

The proponent estimates up to 5000 direct construction jobs during the 10-year project construction period, with 3000 direct jobs created for the 50-plus year operational period.

Related article: IEA says solar the cheapest form of electricity ever

The move follows the WA Recovery Plan initiatives to bring forward the Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Strategy goals from 2040 to 2030, and the McGowan Government’s $22 million investment in developing WA’s hydrogen industry.

The development will ensure the Pilbara, and international customers are able to access competitively priced green energy.

Plans for the first stage of the project, which the McGowan Government granted Lead Agency Status in 2018, include 10GW of wind generation and 5GW of solar generation.

At least 3GW of the power generated is expected to be made available cheaply for Pilbara users.

The scale of the project will enable the creation of new supply chain facilities for the manufacturing and assembly of equipment for wind and solar generation and for hydrogen production, which will create new, local, high-value jobs.

Cheap, clean energy can also support new and expanded mines, downstream mineral processing, and large scale production of green hydrogen products for domestic and export markets.

Related article: SA Power Networks wins 2020 Industry Innovation Award

Most of the project infrastructure is in the Shire of East Pilbara, with an infrastructure corridor proposed to pass through the Shire of Broome to the coast to provide an offshore export terminal.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the project could transform the Pilbara, create thousands of jobs and be a major contributor to global efforts to decarbonise the economy.

“The project partners have extensive experience developing wind and solar farms globally, and today’s environmental approval is a major step forward,” she said.

“This development will demonstrate Western Australia’s credentials as a world-class investment destination for green energy generation, including the production of exportable commodities, like green hydrogen and ammonia, and green steel manufacturing.

“It will put Western Australia on the map as a major contributor to lowering global carbon emissions.”